This past Friday Bill Moyers did an excellent encore interview with the makers of this new documentary (by the makers of Food Inc.) exploring hunger and malnutrition in America. Check it out: The Faces of America's Hungry
They make very clear the connections between poverty, obesity and malnutrition, and a convincing argument for continuing programs like SNAP, and raising wages. For example, they show how many calories of junk food you can get, compared to healthy food, for a small amount of money, and show the same kids who are obese are often malnourished--most of their calories coming from sugar, etc.
When one of the moms gets full-time work they are excited that the film will end happily, only to discover that it's just the beginning, getting to a very important point. The woman loses her support from the government, and hunger becomes a real problem for her family. They make the excellent point that this issue comes down to wages, and the real 'welfare queens' are the companies like Walmart who are paying wages so low that the government has to chip in to feed the families of their workers.
Bill Moyers asks a great question, along the lines of "whenever reforms are proposed in Washington people come up against the power of big corporations.. What makes you think you can get past this?.." Their answer was hopeful, and I think this is a crucial issue of our unsustainable country/world.
Another hopeful presentation I heard recently was part of the Monadnock Summer Lyceum. It was an excellent and encouraging talk by Gar Alperovitz called Is There an America Beyond Capitalism? He points out the growing trend of ecologically sustainable cooperatives, worker-owned companies and democratic corporations in the U.S. and worldwide, and the "seeds of a new economy are forming."
"The time is right for a major new movement—one that is both practical and inspirational. Alperovitz’s new book, What Then Must We Do, is about what it will take to build a new system to replace the decaying one—and how over time to step by step strengthen our communities through cooperatives, worker-owned companies, neighborhood corporations, small and medium-size independent businesses, and publicly owned enterprises."